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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Children of God Edition

I'm struck by the images of us as children of God in this week's lectionary. If you haven't had a chance to read the alternate Old Testament reading (Genesis 18: 20-32), it is the story of Abraham's conversation with God about the destruction of Sodom. God's willingness to spare the city for ten righteous ones is a striking image of God's mercy.

In the traditional Old Testament reading (Hosea 1: 2-10), God's mercy provides the twist at the end, in that those whose loyalties have been divided shall yet be called "Children of the living God."

Again in Luke 11: 1-13, the emphasis on God's care for us as a parent to a child in offering the support of the Holy Spirit serves as a reminder that we are not in this alone.

"Children of the Living God" is an auspicious title. It may, for many, come with a certain amount of baggage (or what feels like baggage sometimes). How do we live up to it in our daily lives?

What are you pondering this week?


  1. Isn't that the million dollar question . . . how do we live up to our name as children of GOd on a daily basis? It is a bit overwhelming if I truly take it to heart. How can we EVER live up to our name? our status as children of God?

    My focus this week is on the Hosea text. I've never spent much time with this book and am iterested in learning and exposing the congregation to a less preached text than the gospel this week.

  2. I'm first???!!!!???

    How could that possibly happen?

    Just in quickly scanning the OT and Gospel, I'm seeing mercy emerging as a theme, God desiring to show mercy rather than what the alternative might be?

    I question whether we as a society value the quality of mercy anymore ...

    Persistence emerges as a theme, especially the persistence of God's love for us, but also the importance of our persistence in asking for, actively seeking that love.

  3. I'm off-lectionary this week for our Pride service. I'm using Isaiah 54:1-10 (Sing Oh barren one) and Acts 8:26-29 (the Ethiopian eunuch baptised by Philip).

    I'm trying to figure out a way to squeeze in Sweet Honey in the Rock's version of the Isaiah text, but I don't think that will happen. I may reference it in the sermon.

    Themes of broadening our own understanding of who is welcome and what is required--that our "children" are not always of our bodies but of our hearts and spirits, and sometimes we need to act on the impulse of the Spirit to reach out to someone we usually wouldn;t look at twice.

    That's where I am today...and I have to have it done by Thursday evening...eeps!

  4. sounds great Rainbow.
    I am envious that you are in a congregation with minds open to a pride service. I long for more liberal surroundings, but that is apparently not where I need to be according to the BIG ONE!

  5. revdari: I like the idea of exposing the congregation to a text they might not have heard so often. I've found that the summer lectionary prophetic books give a good opportunity to do that.

    Plus there is so much to preach from them!

  6. Not at all sure where I want to go with the readings this week, although I will be using Genesis and Luke, or just Luke?

    I like RDQ's thoughts on mercy, and do we know how to show the kind of mercy to others that we anticipated from God?

    Mostly my brain just sings, One more Sunday, One more sermon, and then vacation!'s a little distracting...

  7. I have no idea where to go with these reading although i think i may use the Genesis text... this whole weekly preaching thing is going to take a little getting used to!

  8. Anybody out there who took the Presbyterian exegesis exam for ordination in 2003? The text was the Colossians reading... don't know how I can resist!

    Actually, I am thinking of making this my Harry Potter sermon... addressing the fear that the HP books are fooling people with "philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ."

    Blessings all!


  9. pastor to be: it does take some getting use to, preaching every Sunday. But then I came to find that I really liked (like it). And, it is actually easier, I think, to preach weekly than once in awhile. I get a rhythm and a time you will too... Right now I'm just tired. I've preached all but one Sunday since Easter. So. Looking forward to time off.

    I took my ordination exams in 1999 and I do not remember any of the content...

  10. Actually, I think I took them in 2002, now that I am thinking more clearly... and the Old Testament passage was Proverbs. Why do I remember these things and not people's names???



  11. I'm thinking of using the Colossians text. I've preached the Gospel the past few weeks and from the OT a couples times before that so I'm thinking using the epistle lesson will spice things up a bit...
    Plus i love the first verse from the Colossians text..."continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." I'm thinking of talking about how when we "live in him" that thankfulness flows out as a part of that...what does it mean to be rooted and strengthed in the faith?
    Just thinking aloud...but it is only tuesday!

  12. Revdari-- I pastor a Metropolitan Community Church congregation. I'd probably be run out of town on a rail if I DIDN'T have a Pride service lol.

    However, today has been full of stress and drama and I would like this week to be over please?

  13. Well. I have about three illustrations, all of them funny, and a page of notes. That ought to give me enough to noodle on until I get around to writing this sermon in a day or two.

    Looks like I'm sticking with Luke and how we pray -do we want prayer to work for us - or do we allow prayer to work in us...

  14. I'm commenting on Hosea, Psalm 85, Collosians, but staying in Luke. It seems it offers a way to turn around, or bring our relationships into God-sync...the first three passages lead into doing that, but Luke has offered the 'how'...prayer!

    Becoming a living Prayer, perhaps is a way of keeping connected.

    All the passages are about change, about keeping connected in relationships, whether in marriage, or with each other. All of that also means connections with God too.

    We are all children of God..every human alive, know it, or not....from God's perspective we are his own -- cherished and beloved. If we could get that across the world would be a different place...because we'd be different.

    To do that means living it! - being it! Being a living prayer is to pray 'without ceasing'.

    There would be a conscious effort. How..Meditation...coming to a quiet place to be in God's presence. Jesus did that often and we need to as well. The every day things we do can be offered as 'living prayer'...our attitude in the doing is a key.

    The noise and busyness of the world can keep us from the solitude we need and many people are anxious with silence.

    God's love in these passages is a constant presence. Why are we afraid of a merciful God? Now there's a question that would be interesting to ask.

  15. I had to pick a text and theme by Monday, so I'm stuck with Luke, although now I'm wishing I had said Hosea. In any case, I have no idea what I'm going to say. We'll see as the week goes on...

  16. Both our Year of the Bible texts this week and the lectionary texts can be too easily manipulated by me in order to address certain people in the congregation.

    Me thinks this might be a problem for me staying here.

    Anyway, mompriest I have SO been there when the brain is already on vaycay while the body is stuck at home.

  17. will smama: remember, Gomer also symbolizes Baal worship, not just that other thing.

    But I totally see your point...

  18. I once played Gomer in a Sunday School drama. I wish I were kidding about this. It took place at the Olde Presbyterian Meeting House. I am not kidding about that. I was Gomer on the auction block, wearing a big fall over my Julie Andrews-style haircut. I heard someone's grandmother stage whispering, "How can her mother let her hair get like that?!?!!"

    Anyway, I'm going to preach the Gospel this week and work up something about prayer and relationship, maybe talking about how some of us feel comfortable going to our parents and others don't, and how as parents we hope our children will come to us. How much more then would God feel that way and be saddened if we turn elsewhere or just shut down? I may risk asking some questions and really seeking answers from the congregation, too, something I haven't tried in this setting.

  19. Songbird! LOL!

    Thanks, I needed that.

    I playe Naaman wet!

    I know this is a totally inapplicable comment to preacher party but glad to laff.

  20. Speaking of drama . . . tonight God will be attending our Wed. service. I am not God, I gave that to a church member who replied "I've been Noah and Moses this is a promotion!" Sort of off topic, the original one, but fun.

    I'm working on the Hosea text and the marriage metaphor for God and his children. It is coming along, but not quite sure where it is going. I'll keep plugging along.

  21. You all have a blessed couple of Sundays! I am off to New Orleans with the youth for a work trip...nine days of praying and working.

    May God's blessings be on you all!

  22. I"m so excited and relieved to report completion of a first draft of the sermon. I basically presented an explanation of Hosea Ch1. Hopefully, it isn't too boring! I'll read over it later and see how it hits me then. I'm too tired and tired of this sermon at the moment to do any more.

    Happily, this marks the end of the work week - providing no one dies or gets hospitalized. I am ready to haave a bit of rest and relaxation. I will do a few visits tomorrow, but otherwice, I plan to read for fun and do some home decor! Now, I'm off to shower and do my hair for a cocktail party!!! Fun, fun!


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